Blue Ridge Parkway
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Cultural Heritage

Cultural Heritage at Doughton ParkThe Blue Ridge Parkway is a ribbon of road that weaves through the region’s vibrant living traditions. From Cherokee life and agricultural history to Southern Appalachian crafts and music, the Parkway’s 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina offers many ways to explore rich traditions. 

The Parkway represents a “slice” of America, and each historic site or cabin is a snapshot of one time and one place. Cultural sites here represent about one hundred years – the early decades of the nineteenth century to the early decades of the twentieth century. Those who planned the Parkway and its scenic views thought that the most picturesque and quaint remnants of the past were the log cabins.

In a few places, the early designers removed larger houses and replaced them with smaller rough hewn cabins, complete with reflecting ponds. Although cabins were certainly here in the early days of mountain settlement, many were covered with siding and whitewashed before too many years.

It is also important to remember that there were more homes here in the past than we see today. At places like Rockcastle Gorge, Basin Cove, and the Peaks of Otter, communities of dozens of families lived and worked. Some lived in log houses, others in framed farm houses. In some cases, natural disasters such as the 1916 flood or the Chestnut blight devastated entire mountain communities.

As you visit the Parkway, the historic sites that capture your attention reveal many broad themes of Blue Ridge history. We hope you find stories that challenge you to think about the unique Appalachian culture, defined by arts, crafts, and music that persists in the region. The Cherokee culture that has populated the region and defined much of Appalachian history for thousands of years is preserved on the southern end of the Parkway and reflected in place names throughout the region.

According to some scholars, the herbal lore, basketry, and even some forms of dancing, so much a part of “traditional” Appalachian culture, have roots in the exchange of culture when Europeans and Native Americans met on the Appalachian frontier.

Perhaps the most important piece of advice is to slow down, listen, and take all of the stories you hear as part of the bigger Blue Ridge story. Together, these are stories that tell us of the richness and wealth of this ancient slice of America.

Visit the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area for more information about the region's rich cultural heritage.

Cherokee Cultural Heritage

Members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians honor and cultivate traditions which have guided and supported their culture for a thousand years. Balancing the modern world with these ancient traditions, the Cherokee welcome millions of visitors each year while stewarding the delicate mountain landscape that is their ancestral home

Music Heritage

Live concerts, festivals and cultural events celebrate the region’s rich musical heritage throughout the year. The Blue Ridge Music Center at Milepost 213 features instrument making, song writing history and concerts that showcase the region’s music traditions such as old-time, bluegrass, ballad singing, blues and sacred music.

Crafts Heritage

Communities along the Parkway’s 469 miles keep living craft traditions alive through a variety of galleries, shops, and events. The Folk Art Center at Milepost 382 is home of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, featuring regional crafts, live demonstrations, and special events.

Agricultural Heritage

For thousands of years, Native Americans cultivated the fertile valleys along the Parkway. European immigrants brought agricultural practices with them as they settled in the mountains, but soon adopted and refined many Cherokee crops and techniques. This blending of immigrant agricultural practices with Native American traditions created a distinctive agricultural heritage. Farmers’ markets, restaurants featuring locally grown food and cultural tours along the Parkway highlight the region’s agricultural heritage.  

Natural Heritage

 Along the Blue Ridge Parkway, you will find:

  • Some of the oldest mountains in the world
  • The highest mountain peak in the eastern United States (Mount Mitchell)
  • The oldest river in North America (New River)
  • The deepest gorge east of the Grand Canyon (Linville Gorge)
  • The highest waterfall east of the Rockies (Whitewater Falls)
  • Abundant biodiversity

Calendar

<< September 2014 >>
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
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7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17

The Music of James Bond

Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 8:00 pm

Battle of the Brushes

Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 9:00 am
18

Marion Mountain Music

Thursday, September 18, 2014, 6:00 pm

The Music of James Bond

Thursday, September 11, 2014, 8:00 pm

Trolley Wine Tour

Thursday, September 18, 2014, 11:30 am

Hotel Floyd Concert Series

Thursday, September 18, 2014, 6:00 pm

Pisgah District After Hours Hike

Thursday, September 18, 2014, 7:00 pm
19

Monacan Indian Nation Fall Festival

Friday, September 19, 2014, 6:00 pm

The Music of James Bond

Thursday, September 11, 2014, 8:00 pm

Pisgah District - Hike of the Week

Friday, September 19, 2014, 10:00 am

Free Guided Walking Tours of Historic Lexington

Friday, September 19, 2014, 3:00 pm

Old Fort Mountain Music

Friday, September 19, 2014, 7:00 pm

Woody's Original Mountain Music

Friday, September 19, 2014, 7:00 pm

"On Golden Pond"

Friday, September 19, 2014, 7:30 pm

Roanoke Greek Festival

Saturday, September 20, 2014, 11:00 am
20

Monacan Indian Nation Fall Festival

Saturday, September 20, 2014, 6:00 pm

Evening Campfire Program at Mt. Pisgah

Saturday, May 31, 2014, 7:30 pm

Music in the Mountains Concert Series

Saturday, June 7, 2014, 6:30 pm

The Music of James Bond

Thursday, September 11, 2014, 8:00 pm

Gatlinburg Farmer's Market

Saturday, September 20, 2014, 8:30 am

Black Mountain Tailgate Market

Saturday, September 20, 2014, 9:00 am

Jackson County Green Energy Park Youth Arts Festival

Saturday, September 20, 2014, 9:00 am

Eisenhower World War II Weekend

Saturday, September 20, 2014, 9:00 am

Blowing Rock Music Festival

Saturday, September 20, 2014, 9:00 am

Mountain Heritage Festival

Saturday, September 20, 2014, 10:00 am

34th Annual Heritage Weekend

Saturday, September 20, 2014, 10:00 am

Railroad Days

Saturday, September 20, 2014, 10:00 am

11th Annual Catawba Riverfest

Saturday, September 20, 2014, 10:00 am

Roanoke Greek Festival

Saturday, September 20, 2014, 11:00 am

25th Annual Henry Street Heritage Festival

Saturday, September 20, 2014, 11:30 am

10th Annual Shine to Wine Festival

Saturday, September 20, 2014, 12:00 pm

BFF Day - Winery Music by Sorella Jack

Saturday, September 20, 2014, 1:00 pm

Classic Car Cruise-In

Saturday, September 20, 2014, 3:00 pm

Eat, Drink and Be Murdered

Saturday, September 20, 2014, 6:00 pm

Big Country Bluegrass & The Wolfe Brothers String Band

Saturday, September 20, 2014, 7:00 pm

"On Golden Pond"

Saturday, September 20, 2014, 7:30 pm

Black Light Nighttime Underground Mine Tour

Saturday, September 20, 2014, 8:00 pm
<W
21

Monacan Indian Nation Fall Festival

Sunday, September 21, 2014, 6:00 pm

The Music of James Bond

Thursday, September 11, 2014, 8:00 pm

Roanoke Greek Festival

Saturday, September 20, 2014, 11:00 am

34th Annual Heritage Weekend

Sunday, September 21, 2014, 12:00 am

Eisenhower World War II Weekend

Sunday, September 21, 2014, 9:00 am

Harvest Festival

Sunday, September 21, 2014, 10:00 am

23rd Annual Adams County Heritage Festival

Sunday, September 21, 2014, 12:00 pm

Sunday Sounds at Chateau Morrisette

Sunday, September 21, 2014, 1:00 pm

Informal Jam on the Porch

Sunday, September 21, 2014, 2:00 pm

Bring Back the Monarchs

Sunday, September 21, 2014, 2:00 pm
22 23

Historic Marian Tailgate Market

Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 3:00 pm

Fall Craft Market

Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 3:00 pm
24

Informal Upstairs Tour - Cone Manor

Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 11:00 am

Creeking

Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 3:00 pm
25

Marion Mountain Music

Thursday, September 25, 2014, 6:00 pm

Nothin' Fancy Bluegrass Festival

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fall Migration Bird Trek

Thursday, September 25, 2014, 10:00 am

Hotel Floyd Concert Series

Thursday, September 25, 2014, 6:00 pm

Ghosts of Mitchell County with Peggy Poe Stern

Thursday, September 25, 2014, 7:00 pm
26

Nothin' Fancy Bluegrass Festival

Friday, September 26, 2014, 6:00 pm

Oktoberfest

Friday, September 26, 2014

Guest Appreciation Festival

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pisgah District - Hike of the Week

Friday, September 26, 2014, 10:00 am

Boat Tour

Friday, September 26, 2014, 10:00 am

Free Guided Walking Tours of Historic Lexington

Friday, September 26, 2014, 3:00 pm

Old Fort Mountain Music

Friday, September 26, 2014, 7:00 pm

Woody's Original Mountain Music

Friday, September 26, 2014, 7:00 pm

"On Golden Pond"

Friday, September 26, 2014, 7:30 pm
27

Nothin' Fancy Bluegrass Festival

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 6:00 pm

Music and Art in the Mountains

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Oktoberfest

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Guest Appreciation Festival

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Evening Campfire Program at Mt. Pisgah

Saturday, May 31, 2014, 7:30 pm

Music in the Mountains Concert Series

Saturday, June 7, 2014, 6:30 pm

Gettysburg Fall Outdoor Antique Show

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 7:00 am

Pippinfest

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 8:00 am

Gatlinburg Farmer's Market

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 8:30 am

Black Mountain Tailgate Market

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 9:00 am

Mountain Heritage Day

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 9:00 am

Green Hill Highland Games

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 9:00 am

National Public Lands Day

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 9:00 am

Music & Art in the Mountains

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 10:00 am

Native Plant Gardening

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 10:00 am

Colonial Living

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 10:00 am

Ranger-led tours of Cone Manor

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 10:00 am

Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 11:00 am

17th Annual Harrisonburg International Festival

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 12:00 pm

Vineyard Deck Music Series - Todd Greene

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 1:00 pm

Skunks!

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 3:30 pm

Across the Blue Ridge: Collectors and Song Carriers

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 4:00 pm

"On Golden Pond"

Saturday, September 27, 2014, 7:30 pm
<W
28

Oktoberfest

Sunday, September 28, 2014, 6:00 pm

Guest Appreciation Festival

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Pippinfest

Sunday, September 28, 2014, 8:00 am

Colonial Living

Sunday, September 28, 2014, 10:00 am

Ranger-led tours of Cone Manor

Sunday, September 28, 2014, 10:00 am

Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival

Sunday, September 28, 2014, 11:00 am

Sunday Sounds at Chateau Morrisette

Sunday, September 28, 2014, 1:00 pm

Informal Jam on the Porch

Sunday, September 28, 2014, 2:00 pm

"On Golden Pond"

Sunday, September 28, 2014, 2:30 pm
29

Oktoberfest

Monday, September 29, 2014, 6:00 pm

Explore Lake James by Canoe

Monday, September 29, 2014, 9:00 am
30

Oktoberfest

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 6:00 pm

Historic Marian Tailgate Market

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 3:00 pm

Fall Craft Market

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 3:00 pm

Overmountain Victory Trail Hike

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 6:00 pm

Balsam Range Concert

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 7:30 pm
       

Highlights & Happenings

  • James River & Otter Creek, MP 60-63.8
  • At the lowest elevation along the Parkway, visitors can hike, camp, fish, have a picnic, and see restored Battery Creek Lock from the Kanawha Canal.
  • Doughton Park, MP 240
  • Renew your senses amid this landscape of open meadows. Doughton Park is one of the best places along the Blue Ridge Parkway to view white-tailed deer, raccoons, red and grey foxes, and bobcats.  Flowers burst on the scene in late spring and crea
  • Peaks of Otter, MP 86
  • With stunning views, natural beauty, and the surrounding Jefferson National Forest, it’s no wonder the Peaks of Otter area has attracted people to the region for more than 8,000 years.
  • Julian Price Memorial Park, MP 297
  • A majestic 4,200 acres at the foot of Grandfather Mountain, named in honor of Julian Price, comprises this popular park and lies directly adjacent to the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. Together these parks make up the largest developed area set as
  • Mount Pisgah, MP 408
  • Mount Pisgah’s spectacular views, hiking trails, camping and the Mount Pisgah Inn make this area a popular destination for visitors along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The mountain and thousands of surrounding acres was originally purchased by indust
  • Craggy Gardens, MP 364
  • These high elevation summits are home to spectacular floral displays. June and July are usually prime times to view the pink and purple blooms of rhododendron, but don’t despair if you miss the peak bloom. Violets, blackberry, May-apple, a
  • Parkway Visitor Center, MP 384
  • Visitors traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway can now make one stop to learn about the entire 469 miles and 73-year history of the Parkway. The Parkway Visitor Center opened in 2008 and unveiled innovative, high-tech interactive exhibits. The LEED-certif
  • Monacan Indian Nation Fall Festival
  • Come immerse yourself in the culture of the Monacan Indian Nation in a 3-day event including music, dancing, performances and artisans.
  • Fall Color - Tips for Leaf Season
  • Tips for planning your scenic drive or vacation to see the fall color along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • Camping
  • Camping is one way visitors traveling through the Blue Ridge Parkway can spend the night under the stars in one of America’s most beautiful natural settings.
  • Hiking Trails
  • A journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway offers motorists spectacular views of Southern Appalachia’s diverse beauty for 469.1 uninterrupted miles.
  • Nearby Accommodations
  • Explore the quaint towns and vibrant cities that the Blue Ridge Parkway weaves through, and a variety of lodging choices.
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